Exiting Beach Blast, WCW was in a state where they’d already taped a vast portion of their shows, and by the looks of it also made those the main shows. So, there was no intrigue…to anything! Sorry for my lack of interest but a lot of this stuff sounds very boring. I guess I’ll see for myself. There was a rumor that Dusty Rhodes would come back to the ring, but he didn’t.
– Taped to air July 25th, 1993, on the Main Event, from the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia
Chris Benoit and Bobby Eaton vs. Ric Flair (NWA Champion) and Arn Anderson
Pre-Match Thoughts: The work in this match could be off the charts. No complaints about that. Obvious who will win this one, that can’t be denied. The taping schedule was such that they’d be airing matches about a month or two after they were taped.
Match Review: Arn and Eaton lock up first, and Arn tries to break clean with Eaton the first time. Arn levels Eaton with a left hand shortly afterward, then he arm drags him and starts stomping on his left arm. Eaton hits Arn with a low knee to stop his momentum, as it is announced Arn and Roma are getting another tag title match. Benoit tags in and dropkicks Arn from behind, then misses a charge to the corner. Arn heads up top, but Benoit crotches him and tries a superplex that Arn blocks. Arn flies off the second rope, but Benoit boots him in the face to stop it. Benoit then slams Arn, goes up top, and comes down with a FLYING HEADBUTT. Well, that was unsettling. Flair breaks up the cover, makes a tag in, and dodges Benoit’s dropkick attempt. This is weird. Flair goes for a back suplex, but Benoit flips out of it and runs into a chop instead. Eaton makes a tag in, shoulders Flair down, and SLAPS HIM. Flair comes back with some chops to knock Eaton to the outside, where he keeps the chopping going. Back in they go, and Eaton takes Flair out with a neckbreaker. Benoit tags in, and follows with another neckbreaker. Eaton chokes Flair while the official is distracted, then Benoit gets in there and Flair tries to do his flip in the corner only for the camera guy to mess it up. Eaton makes the tag, and he takes Flair out with a clothesline and bodyslam. Eaton goes up top now, and down he comes with a FLYING ELBOW. Benoit switches in, slams Flair, and drops a leg on him from the second rope. Flair goes to an inverted atomic drop when he has a chance, then tries to lock on the figure-four only for Benoit to cradle him up for 2. Benoit and Eaton trade tags for a little bit, beating Flair up until Eaton applies a head-scissors. Benoit eventually tags in and chops Flair over the top rope, then he gives chase and rams Flair into the apron. When they go back into the ring, Eaton picks Flair up and suplexes him. Eaton goes up top again, and Flair punches him in the face on his way down. Flair goes for a back suplex, but he gets hurt and has to tag out instead.
Arn cleans house for a little bit, but Eaton slugs him with a big right hand to stop it. Eaton goes for a PILEDRIVER, but Arn blocks it and gives him a SPINEBUSTER for the victory at 11:24!
My Thoughts: The finishing stretch of that match was strange, I can’t quite put my finger on it. This was a good showcase of what Benoit was capable of doing at this time, but by no means did they go all out and showcase everything he could do. It wasn’t the point of these matches for something like that to take place. Arn and Flair needed to be put over and made to look good. That’s what happened. **3/4.
– Taped to air August 1st, 1993, on Worldwide
Maxx Payne and Paul Orndorff (WCW TV Champion) vs. Ricky Steamboat and Johnny B. Badd
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a strange group. It’s one way to consolidate two feuds into one, though. Ultimately I approve of it. Steamboat and Badd could have been a good team in another era, one where Steamboat tries to teach Badd the ways of a family man. That’s not the era here, though.
Match Review: Badd and Orndorff give the appearance that they’ll be starting the match, so I guess they will. They lock up and go into the ropes, then Badd attacks Payne at his first chance. Steamboat attacks Orndorff, so all four guys are in there until the referee can break them all up. Badd looks like a goof with this mask on. Orndorff gets back into the ring to restart the match, and Steamboat makes a tag in as well. Orndorff pops him in the mouth, so now Maxx Payne makes a tag into the ring. Steamboat trips Payne, hits him with a chop to the head, and goes to a side headlock. Steamboat takes him down with it, and holds him there for quite a while. Steamboat then comes off the second rope with a flying chop, then knocks Payne down with a dropkick. Badd makes a tag in, but Payne makes a tag right out. That kind of sucks. Orndorff drops Badd with a back suplex, then stomps on Badd’s broken face for a little while. Orndorff pops Badd with an elbow, then rams him into Payne’s knee and Payne will make his way into the ring. Payne drops an elbow on Badd and covers for 2, then Badd sunset flips him for 2. He hits Badd with a back elbow, and applies a front face-lock for a while. Great hold. Steamboat is stopped from tagging in because it isn’t spotted, and the heel team decides to hit Badd with a double clothesline. Badd cradles Payne up, but the referee is still distracted. While the referee is distracted by Orndorff, Steamboat flies off the top and helps Badd with a cross body that gets the pin after about 9:30. After the match, Orndorff and Payne beat Badd up until Steamboat grabs a chair to chase them away.
My Thoughts: Sad to say that finish made absolutely no sense. They didn’t exactly do a great job to hook me in, but I thought that the match was fine until the jumbled and confused ending. *3/4. This Payne/Badd feud had gone on for long enough, I think. At least Steamboat/Orndorff was just getting started.
– Taped to air August 8th, 1993, on the Main Event, from Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia
Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William) vs. Ricky Steamboat in a NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: I believe these guys may have had a series of matches. In the first one, it went to a time-limit draw and Steamboat wanted a rematch. So, he slapped Regal in order to get him to accept the challenge. I’ll probably be watching a lot of Regal matches the next year or so. Looking forward to them, I haven’t really gone through his library at any point.
Match Review: These two have a rough exchange of locking up, as you’d figure. Eventually they lock up to a point where both guys go to the canvas, and Steamboat has to duck out to the apron. They lock up all the way into the aisle, and eventually they go back into the ring. Regal arm drags Steamboat down and holds onto a wristlock, which causes Steamboat to grab the ropes and reverse to a head-scissors. The hold is broken, and Regal is angry. Steamboat takes Regal down with a drop toe-hold, but Regal grabs onto the head to stop anything else. Time for a cravate from Regal. He holds on for a while, then we get more mat wrestling that culminates in an exchange of hammerlocks where Steamboat winds up in control. Steamboat transitions to a wristlock to put Regal back on the canvas, then they get up and Regal elbows him in the face. Regal hits Steamboat with some European uppercuts, then shoulders Steamboat to knock him out of the ring. Regal then drops Steamboat with a butterfly suplex when he gets back in the ring, and that gets a 2 count. Regal hits Steamboat with some forearms, which leads to Regal trying a backbreaker submission. Steamboat breaks Regal’s grip and slips out, then backdrops Regal for 2. Steamboat tries to slam Regal, but Regal falls on top for 2 instead. Regal goes for a backdrop, but instead Steamboat suplexes him for 2. Steamboat picks Regal up and slams him too, then goes up top for a cross body that gets 2. Steamboat gets involved with Sir William, but out comes Paul Orndorff for a…disqualification after 9:27. Oh boy. Orndorff works Steamboat over for a while, then throws him back into the ring for more punishment. Steamboat starts fighting back, right as the show conveniently ends.
My Thoughts: How does a no disqualification match end like this? It’s WCW and that’s why, but I don’t get it at all. These two could have done even more work than this, but the match was very good and worked realistically. All you can really ask for. The finish brought it down a few notches to **1/2. I do not understand that at all.
– Taped to air August 15th, 1993, on the Main Event, from the Civic Center in Anderson, South Carolina
Keith and Kent Cole vs. The Hollywood Blonds for the WCW/NWA Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’ve wanted to talk about the Cole’s for some time, but I haven’t been able to find the right spot to do so. Anyway, the Cole’s were goofy identical twins. They were kept around as JTTS for a really long time. This is the first time I’ve been able to work them in, which says it all about them. In this match it seems like they were presented fairly seriously. That’s embarrassing.
Match Review: Twin teams are the worst because I can’t tell them apart. Austin starts with one of them, and shoves him like he’s a jabroni. Because he is. Austin then acts like he was hit with a dirty shot on the break, which is a routine I’ve never seen before. Maybe there’s a reason for that. Apparently this is Keith Cole. Awesome. Austin works Keith over, until Keith catches his boot and trips him. Keith drops an elbow on Austin’s leg, and works a toe-hold for a little bit. Keith then monkey flips Austin, dropkicks him, and Austin decides to elbow his brother. Keith nails Austin with a clothesline in response, then Kent tags in for a double backdrop. Pillman is then asked to tag in, and does after showing a little fear. Kent takes Pillman down with a headlock, then shoulders him down. Pillman blocks a cradle attempt, misses an elbow drop, and Kent takes him down again as we go to a commercial.
Back from that commercial, Austin is working over Kent Cole and clotheslines him with the top rope. Pillman tags in and wrecks the guy with some chops, but gets knocked down with left hands. Austin cuts off the tag, slams Kent, and rolls the camera. What a guy. Austin rams Kent into the corner for a double team, which includes some choking. Crowd doesn’t like that. Pillman tags in, rakes Kent’s face with his boot, and the guys wind up dropkicking each other. Pillman gets up first and misses a cross body from the second rope, which allows Kent to finally make the tag out. Keith tries to clean house, hitting Austin with a back elbow and ramming him into the buckle. He follows that with a backdrop of Austin, then puts a sleeper on him. Pillman knocks Keith with a right hand to break it, then Keith cradles Austin up. Austin reverses it and grabs the tights, which gets the win after about 10 minutes. Thankfully.
My Thoughts: This was the very definition of a basic, generic tag team match. Even the Blonds could have matches like that, given opponents who couldn’t do anything other than be athletic. The Cole’s seemed very untrained. **. I really liked the Blonds promo about their title defense at the Clash. They were coming for the Horsemen!
I know that was a really weak selection of reviews, but I could only review from the selection of matches that WCW made available. There wasn’t a whole lot there. They needed to get back to basics and start airing more quality matches on television. It’s funny that they did exactly that in the months ahead. So, there’s definitely something to look forward to as far as these WCW reviews go. Next up, it’s WWF matches leading into SummerSlam!
Best: This period being over.
Worst: Lack of quality television episodes.